I stood there in the washroom, looking at my reflection in the mirror, sweating, shaking, judging myself and contemplating losing it all.
At this point my stress filled life had tipped over the edge into new territory.
People often ask what’s the difference. My answer is usually that stress is event based or situational whereas anxiety is random and shows up at the worst times. Stress can be used as a motivator and can be positive. Anxiety leaves us with an emotional hangover that makes us feel tired and weak.
As I stood in front of that mirror, my mind was racing.
- What if I get fired?
- What will people think?
- Will my family still love me?
- How will I ever get another job?
- Will I have to sell our house?
- Will I go crazy?
It’s called catastrophizing. I don’t use that word too often though, as it’s hard to pronounce.
But once my switch was set to worst-case scenario thinking, it was like a virus I couldn’t shake.
Each day I’d worry constantly about the “what ifs.”
It was all consuming and extremely tiring.
My brain felt like a computer running every program simultaneously, without ever coming to a conclusion. I was low on RAM.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Having now come out the other side of these dark times I realized that so much time was wasted on spinning my mental wheels.
The things I was worrying about the whole time didn’t come true. If I could bottle all the energy I wasted worrying I’d be able to power a small city for a year.
I had my first panic attack during a presentation, so that was something I worried about even as my life improved in many other ways.
If I had to give a speech I’d revert to my old patterns.
“What if I can’t get my words out?”
“What if people didn’t like my talk?”
“What if I collapsed on stage?”
This ruined the experience for me each time, as I was never able to be present. I’d worry, show up, do a good job, be relived that I hadn’t fucked it up, get lots of praise from the audience and usually have a brief moment of euphoria.
But then the next speaking engagement would come and I’d go back to worrying and what ifing.
So, I’m coming from the future to give you this message.
You CAN choose to have a different experience.
To read the rest of this article and see my 5 WAYS YOU CAN PREPARE FOR THE BEST INSTEAD OF THE WORST, click below: